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When a Sweatshirt is So Much More —By Shirley Hartnett

Recently, my friend Colleen Longden, co-coordinator of the East Syracuse chapter of Activ8Her gifted me a sweatshirt. She had ordered the wrong size for herself and was told by the company to bless someone and they would send her the correct size for herself. She chose to bless me!

This is the story of how God can use a sweatshirt to become so much more.

The sweatshirt is super soft and, even though the photo might not reveal its true color, it is the most beautiful teal color. The front has a math equation (as a math teacher this is my favorite) 2 fish + 5 loaves = 5000.

I put the sweatshirt on immediately, and continued walking toward the Kid Life Ministry at our church. I was serving that day and planned to speak on grace. I had my notes. I prepared my speech. I was ready. But when I glanced down at the sweatshirt I realized the Lord had a different message.

Off the cuff, my message was on the miracles of Jesus; because of the sweatshirt.

Driving home I realized there was a deeper message for me. It was about letting go.

It’s very hard for me to let go, to ask for help. Unfortunately, I even have trouble asking friends for help. Oh, I can let go when I know the God of the Universe is going to do what I want him to. But … much of the Bible is about letting go. There is a popular phrase we like to quote, "Let go, Let God." But do we? Really?

God says:

To give up control and let God.

To give up fear and let God protect you.

To give up worry and let God take care of you.

To give up hatred for Love.

To give up anxiety for peace.

I realized it was because I don’t have enough faith in the character of God. If I only believed God's character was selfless and had my best interests in mind. If I only could give Him control all the time. If I actually believed He said who He was.


God still wasn’t done with me. When I told my friend my idea for this devotional and she said, “I got something entirely different.” She said feeding the 5000 taught her: Jesus had compassion for the people. Jesus uses other people to bless others. Nothing is too big for our God.

Another friend said that feeding the five thousand reminded her that God’s math is not like man’s math (I should have thought of that). So the beauty of God’s Word is that it meets you where you are and opens your heart and mind to fulfill God’s plan for you.

And like a sweatshirt, God will use anything He can to help us see He is so much more than we often believe Him to be.

-by Shirley Hartnett, Co-Coordinator of the North Syracuse Activ8Her Chapter.

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